Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem Pre-Fight Analysis - UFC 203

UFC 203 will be taking place on September 10, at the Quicken Loans Arena (home of the Cavaliers) in Cleveland, Ohio. Considering this is the first time the company visits America's North Coast, the card is surprisingly good. There are a handful of matches I'm genuinely anticipating. Former pro-wrestler CM Punk will be making his long-awaited debut against Mickey Gall (you can check out the preview here). J├ęssica Andrade and Joanne Calderwood are set to engage in a technical war. Plus, the event will feature names like Urijah Faber, Fabricio Werdum, and Ian McCall. Nonetheless, the heavyweight title fight between local hero Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem is unequivocally the most exciting contest. Today, I'll be doing a quick preview of the fight. Without further ado, let's get to it:

The uppermost feature that causes Alistair Overeem to stick out like a sore thumb is his completely unpredictable offense. In a division that can at times be dominated by wild overhands and poor head movement, The Reem offers a varied and strategic approach that has numerously proved to be effective. When fighting him, you simply don't know what's coming your way. He utilizes a variety of faints to eventually set up strikes with his eight limbs. He's also an incredibly intelligent competitor. He's able to quickly pick his opponent's patterns up, which helps him land the right blow at the appropriate moment.

Across the octagon, he'll encounter the recently crowned Stipe Miocic. Compared to Alistair, his attacks may not be as diversified. However, make no mistake about it: he's equally disciplined and skilled. Primarily a boxer, Miocic is a smooth technician who places a ton of focus on fundamentals. A former Golden Glove winner, his hands are very crisp and fast. With a monstrous right hand, he delivers his best work in boxing range, as he typically possesses a speed and timing advantage over his adversaries.

Moving on, Stipe also owns a legitimate wrestling background (NCAA Division I wrestler). Personally, I don't believe this fight will be contested on the ground. While The Silencer has previously shown some great level changes into single legs, Overeem is athletic and defensively sound enough to defend the attempts. Plus, Miocic might not want to put himself in a position to potentially receive a brutal knee that abruptly ends his title run (similarly to how Ryan Bader finished Illir Latifi this past weekend). Having said that, the current heavyweight champ may very well look to utilize his credentials to wear Alistair down. Clinching against the cage, landing knees to the body, and throwing short punches. Not only does it nullify the Dutch's biggest weapons, but it will slowly drain him, which will undoubtedly benefit Ohio's own shall the bout enter the burdensome championship rounds.

On a different note, The Reem absolutely is the more tested, experience mixed martial artist. With over 50 professional fights, he is a former champion at Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1. He has defeated countless MMA legends, including Frank Mir, Junior Dos Santos, and Brock Lesnar. Owning such a wealth of knowledge is often a double edge sword. Specially when it comes to combat sports. The good thing is that Overeem has truly seen it all. He has become a cold-blooded assassin. He generally remains cool and collected, smartly reading his opponents to extract vital information that leads him to success.

On the other side, his deep understanding of the game comes with a price. His chin has gradually deteriorated. So many contests will indisputably decrease the amount of punishment you may receive. If the titleholder clips him with a clean punch, Alistair's jaw could catastrophically end his golden aspirations.

Another element that could drastically alter the outcome of this title bout is Stipe's mental state. While the challenger has been tirelessly training for his chance at obtaining UFC gold, Miocic is partially enjoying the accolades that tag along when you're a world champion. He recently got married and his city is constantly celebrating him after breaking the 52-year championship curse in Cleveland. By all means, he's the man of the hour. Nevertheless, he has an extraordinarily difficult task ahead of him: he must defend his strap for the very first time in front of his hometown. He's expected to put the performance of a lifetime with his childhood friends watching live, in the arena he usually sees the Cavaliers play at. Certain people fuel off the energy and expectations, showing what they're genuinely made out of. Other, tragically crumble under the pressure. There is just no way of knowing how Stipe will react until he steps into the octagon.

Finally, we reach the key of the fight. Without a shadow of a doubt, it's 'rhythm'. Whoever manages to impose his pace and dictate the range will leave "The Land" with the belt. Overeem enjoys a meticulous, slow speed battle, studying his opponents and using distance to land a barbaric strike. Conversely, Miocic prefers to push forward and pressure his opponents until he's in boxing range. The styles clearly contradict each other. Only one will survive this highly anticipated collision between two merciless warriors.

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